In June 2012, I ventured on a school trip to Italy with thirteen of my fellow classmates from Haverhill High School. The 10-day trip, which was with EF Educational Tours, began in Milan and finished in Rome.  It was a long trip, with extensive bus rides and 100 degree weather, but it was definitely worth it. Of all the places we visited, the isle of Capri was by far my favorite. It wasn't just because of its magnificent beauty and the clear, blue water.  On that leg of our trip, our entire group bonded like never before. It was something about the mountains and the clean ocean breeze that brought us together and cemented us for the rest of the trip.

     Before leaving for the trip, I was friendly with four classmates who were also going. The others, I barely knew or saw once or twice in school in the hallways. I had seen them in their own cliques and never talked to them. Once we were in Italy, though, it was like an icebreaker, and we began to become friends. We still were a bit disconnected by the time we reached Capri, and we were already half way through our trip.

     Our day in Capri started off with a 30 minute ride from Sorrento to the docks. The initial sight was amazing. The buildings were long, narrow, and all connected to each other. The water was a neon-blue and practically transparent. However, the greatest sight of all was the range of mountains looming over the ocean. We immediately boarded a boat to tour the island and we were better able to soak up the view. It was truly a sight to see. This boat ride is what started the close ties we developed throughout the day.  We were a bunch of high school tourists cramped on a small boat and singing whatever songs came on the radio. Even though our high school cliques were different during the school year, we realized we were really all the same.

     This closeness carried over as we returned to the island. As a group, we went to the public beach to swim and sun for the rest of the day in the beautiful Caprician sun. Even though the beach was entirely made up of rocks with no sand in sight, it still felt great to lie down and relax. The ocean at that beach was crystal clear and everybody was diving, swimming, and just being silly. All fourteen of us stayed out in the water for most of the afternoon. It was like we had been friends for years. The high school cliques were a distant past.

     On the ride back to the hotel, the boat ride was quiet, but it was as if everyone was having the same thoughts. Thousands of miles from the halls of Haverhill High school, and I have connected with people I would never say hello to between classes.  There was still five days left to explore Italy as a new group of friends, with no crowded hallways or tiny lockers to open. We were now our own clique.

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